16th Nov 2010
The recent installation of a lock landing stage at Isis Lock has been carried out by British Waterways to protect the waterway wall from damage by boat impact and improve safety. The landing stage was constructed and installed with Environment Agency consent, and in consultation with local boaters.
The British Waterways team worked closely with a local boating business, College Cruisers, and other boaters including representatives from the Oxford IWA Branch to gather feedback to help assist in the decisions to construct the final structure. Following feedback generated by local boaters, the length of the landing stage was increased.
Since installation, British Waterways has agreed to make some alterations to the design of the structure. These will enable boats to ‘nose into’ the pontoon structure to aid with specific boaters turning preferences, and a gate and hand rail will also be installed to further improve safety for users of the new lock landing.
A second stage of the works around Isis Lock has seen the installation of a number of piles near the entrance to Castle Mill Stream. These piles will be linked by a ‘string’ of booms. The purpose of these piles is to prevent access by illegal overstaying boats, prevalent in this area, as well as preventing larger craft from being swept down the stream and towards the weir. Again practical testing on-site was undertaken with local boaters, and the location of the piles was amended following their suggestions to the project team.
Jeff Whyatt, British Waterways’ senior manager, said: “The safety improvements at the area around Isis Lock have been delivered in partnership with the Environment Agency, and with input from local boaters. The installation of the piles has caused some concern to a small number of boaters and their complaint is being investigated via British Waterways’ formal complaints procedure.
“Some of the comments and complaints we have received have made us aware that sometimes boats may be using this water at a time when there are high flow or flood warnings – at a time when the Environment Agency advises against navigation. We recommend all river users to follow the Environment Agency’s important safety advice. British Waterways will continue to work with the Agency to alert river users to changing conditions.”
Gail Bradstock, a Waterways Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Any planned structures on Environment Agency designated waters require our consent. The alterations proposed will not impact on the consent granted to British Waterways.”